Author Topic: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard  (Read 10149 times)

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Offline Narf

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[IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« on: Sat, 02 October 2021, 09:55:35 »
I am pleased to present the result of my first custom keyboard design project:

A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard that accepts standard-sized keycaps

The idea was to take the popular 65% layout and make it ortholinear while still be able to use standard-sized keycaps. I also tried to maintain an aesthetically balanced layout. I know I am not the first to make this kind of layout (SPRH, Fold KB, ZT60, Spacey, etc.) each one was missing something for me, so I made my own.

I have been an ortho user for a few years now. Ortholinear boards themselves are great, but it has always been difficult to source keycaps because most of the beautiful custom keycap sets out there are designed to accommodate a few of the most common layouts in order to hit the required numbers. 40s kits are becoming more common, but many 40% keyboards are staggered layouts, and ortholinear 40s use smaller 1u keys. Ortholinear keyboards with larger mods tend to use Ergodox style 1.5u modifiers, but Ergodox kits are very niche, even compared to 40%. As a result, Ergo kits are rarely offered for custom sets. I would rather have keycap makers lower their MOQ so that designers could make all kinds of rare kits for unique and interesting custom layouts, but that seems unlikely to happen anytime soon. I also wanted to make this a sort of an easy gateway into ortholinear, and because of it's compatibility with 65% and standard ANSI layouts, people will be able to use just about any MX-compatible keyset that they may have lying around.

I have several functional prototypes that I have been daily-driving for the past few months. In fact, I am typing this post on the one in the picture! I have a few extra functioning PCBs as well.

  • QMK compatible
  • USB-C (Center mount)
  • ESD Over-Current Protection
  • Khail Hotswap
  • Encoder support (two locations, but only one supported at a time)
  • Stepped caps lock support (Stepped caps lock switch is south facing, normal is north facing)
  • Split backspace support
  • Supports three different bottom row mod/arrow cluster configurations

The Case

The case in the picture features:
  • Stacked clear acrylic with special chamfered edge and countersunk screws for a smooth surface. (Production models would have shallower countersinks for closer to flush fit.)
  • 7o typing angle
  • Layout options to two top layers to accommodate blockers for arrow cluster and encoder(s)
  • High profile
  • 17mm front height (desk to first chamfered edge)
  • Can accept CNC Aluminum Cone Feet
This is a fairly early stage Interest Check. I am mostly just putting out feelers to see if enough people would be interested in buying one, and to get feedback on the design. Price and expected run dates are not set yet. I have been working with a local plastics company to get the beveled and countersunk pieces. Their turnaround times have been pretty good, but their QC has been a bit lacking. Fortunately, they are responsive and will redo pieces quickly. I have also designed an FR4 skeleton case for a lower cost option if people just want to give the layout a try. I would be interested to see what people think of this board. If it does go to groupbuy stage, it would likely be a very limited run at first, as this would be my first time running a GB and I would like to be able to closely oversee quality control and keep things at a more manageable level.

Interest Check Google Form: (4-5 minutes)

Anticipated questions:
Will ISO support be offered?  No. Due to the ortholinear nature of the layout, ISO enters cannot be used.
Typing test?  Maybe. I do not have a fancy streamer setup. To be honest this board is more about the layout than the sound experience. It would really only be to showcase functionality.
Price?  TBD (probably around or under $200 for acrylic and sub $100 for FR4 skeleton. Maybe over $100 for carbon fiber skeleton if people are interested.)
GB Date?   TBD (probably within the next 6 months, Q1 2022)
MOQ/Limit?   Going to try to keep the first run around 20~25 Units for acrylic. Might go higher for skeleton.
RGB?   Not in the current iteration. I am considering redesigning the pcb with a duplex matrix for added encoder and RGB underglow support for a future build, but that will take a while. Maybe in a R2, if this gets past a R1. Underglow Added. No per-key backlighting.
VIA compatibility?   Working on it. I typically don't use VIA, so I have to read up on implementation. I have added VIAL support. You can also use VIA by sideloading a .json, but rotary encoders are not supported in VIA.
Any plans for an aluminum version?   Down the road, yes. If a first GB round is successful, I plan to design an aluminum board with and updated PCB. For now, I am trying to keep things simple and (relatively) inexpensive.
Will there be any other colors besides clear for the acrylic case?    Maybe. If there is sufficient interest, I could see making the layer under the top most acrylic piece an accent piece as 3mm acrylic is widely available in many colors. The rest of the case, specifically the top piece would likely need to stay clear, as that is the only color available from the plastic company I am using. I don't really want to complicate orders too much.
Will you share the plate files?   Maybe after first round GB concludes.



Thanks for looking!
« Last Edit: Sun, 16 January 2022, 23:11:42 by Narf »

Offline misononyan

  • Posts: 159
Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 02 October 2021, 19:37:15 »
Probably the nicest looking iteration of  base kit Ortho I've seen, awesome job!

Offline vishydesigns

  • Posts: 212
Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 02 October 2021, 22:42:33 »
really cool great job! :thumb:

Offline hark

  • Posts: 39
Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 02 October 2021, 23:01:41 »
I actually love the way this looks,  GLWIC!

Offline lush_bunny

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 03 October 2021, 01:31:44 »
Interesting and pretty. GLWIC!

Offline oestrogen8r

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Mon, 04 October 2021, 10:29:17 »
GLWIC! I just wish this were slightly wider so I had a delete key behind the pipe key

Offline YMwoo

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Mon, 04 October 2021, 21:29:54 »
Love this!
It'd be even better if it supports split spacebar.
I'm also more interested in alu case, even better if you can make it looks unique without being too much.

Offline Juan.

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  • Location: snadland
Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 04 October 2021, 23:00:01 »
this looks like my sleep paralysis demon
rubber cup   

Offline Loquerish

  • Posts: 27
Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 21 October 2021, 09:10:17 »
GLWIC! Very interesting layout and i like it

Offline Parva Ovis

  • Posts: 191
Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 21 October 2021, 10:37:14 »
Looks great! Split spacebar support (with 1.25u on the left) is a must for me, though.

Offline Sup

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Wed, 27 October 2021, 16:32:42 »
Looks awesome. I wouldn't mind picking one up but, the price of 200 ish for a acrylic board is pretty steep they are supposed to make stuff cheaper. I assume its because of the low MOQ.
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Offline Narf

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 06 December 2021, 23:32:09 »
Just a quick update on this project:
There seems to be sufficient interest in this board, so I plan to run at least one GB.

I am finishing up the redesign of the PCB with the following features added: Split spacebar (two different layouts), RGB underglow, additional encoders spots, and a few additional layout options. I will be making a few final checks this week, and then hopefully ordering prototypes the following week. Once I get some functional prototype PCBs in hand I will make a larger update.

Offline Narf

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 14 January 2022, 23:11:18 »
 Hello Everyone,
Thank you to everyone that filled out the interest check survey. As a result of the survey, as well as several suggestions from Reddit, I decided to completely revamp the PCB.

Two Split Spacebar Configurations are Now Supported
Considering it is an othro keyboard, I probably should have added split space in the first place, but due to the large Atmega32u4-AU footprint being located under the spacebar, it was not possible. Changing the MCU to the smaller Atmega32u4-MU allowed me to relocate it.
I am happy to say that I was able to add two different split Space layouts: 2.75u – 1.25u – 2.25u and 1.25u – 2.25u – 2.75u. There are a few areas where hotswap sockets may interfere with stabilizer screws in the  1.25u – 2.25u – 2.75u configuration, but it seems to work fine.

RGB Underglow Added
I wanted to add RGB in the first iteration of the board, but it was all I could do to get a basic matrix and traces correct. I had never designed a pcb, and I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew. Plus, I ran out of pins on the MCU because I didn’t know how to duplex matrix. Using the more efficient [10x8] instead of [5x16] matrix, I had enough pins for RGB. I added 14 ws1218 leds. I thought about adding per-key backlighting, but decided it would be too much work for something I wasn’t really interested in. I have no plans to add it to the board.

Additional Encoders
Most people indicated that if they did install an encoder, it would in the top left location. After converting redoing the matrix gave me some extra pins, so I decided to add some more encoder spots and channels. I really wanted to see about adding one to the top right of the board, but the 2u Backspace stabilizer holes make it impossible. Instead, I added one for the 1u keys to the left of the arrows, one in the center 1.25u split Space area, and one to the 1.25u left control spot. Obviously, adding encoders to a 1.25u footprint is not ideal, but I figured I would add them in case anybody wanted them there. The top left has its own channel, left Control and center Space share a channel, and right Control and FN share a channel.

VIAL Support Added
I was finally able to get encoders working in VIAL. VIA is not officially supported at the moment, but you can sideload a .json and use VIA to reprogram the board. However, VIA does not support encoders.

True Ortho – Align Right Modifiers
I added the ability to move the right-side modifiers (2u Backspace, Pipe, Enter) over to align with left edge of the right Shift key. This layout was an idea that I had for a smaller version of this board, the Krado60, which would have eliminated Minus, Plus, the Brackets, and Quote/Apostrophe altogether. Someone raised concern that the destagger put Backspace even farther way, which is something I definitely noticed when first typing on this layout. It wasn’t too difficult for me to get used to it, but then I thought, “well, I did split backspace support for that 2u Backspace, why not make the two keys next to that a split backspace too?” Then I figured, “why not align Pipe and Enter?” I don’t know if anyone will use this feature, but I will be interested to try it out. *Note that for the Enter row, aligned Enter key switch will be north-facing and the apostrophe key will be west-facing (rotated 90o) so there may be some interference with certain keycap/switch combinations.

Daughterboard Support Added
I have added a JST connector footprint and breakout pins. I'm still deciding whether I should actually have the JST connector soldered on the board for an initial skeleton/acrylic run as it would necessitate either a cutout on the bottom or higher pcb height. 

 Next Steps:
For now, the plan will be to definitely run a skeleton FR4 kit in the near future. I would like to do an acrylic version as well, but I need to make sure the manufacturer has the ability to make the top piece (with beveled edged and countersunk screws) to exact specification. Either way, the skeleton case parts will have the ability to be used in the stacked acrylic case.
There seemed to be a decent amount of interest in an aluminum/polycarb version. I would also like to see this happen, so I am busy designing it. Don’t hold your breath, though. It could be 6 months before I am finished with a CNC design.

I will post some pictures of built skeleton protos with the new layouts in a few days.

« Last Edit: Wed, 19 January 2022, 00:27:39 by Narf »

Offline lazaret

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #13 on: Tue, 18 January 2022, 17:32:28 »


Discord link is broken in this update post, but works in the main post

Offline Narf

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #14 on: Tue, 18 January 2022, 17:43:02 »


Discord link is broken in this update post, but works in the main post
Should be fixed now. Thanks!

Offline Narf

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 24 January 2022, 20:55:14 »
Posting some prototype build and layout pictures.
Apologies for phone picture quality.

Offline te-ce

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 07 March 2022, 15:23:08 »
I am so stoked for this board!
can't wait

Offline Narf

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Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #17 on: Tue, 17 May 2022, 00:05:33 »
Hi everyone,

I just wanted to give an update on the project. I am planning to run the GB in the next month or two.

I have finally settled on a case design. I increased the bezels slightly to make the top edge bevel farther from the screw holes. The acrylic manufacturer was able to make countersunk holes within spec, so the top screws will be properly countersunk to be flush. I redesigned the feet to be stacked so that people can choose different typing angles. I plan to offer white and black in addition to clear acrylic. There is a matte finish acrylic with limited thicknesses that I am checking on as well. (The matte texture is only on one surface and would be the same as clear on the side edges.) Pricing for the acrylic case (without PCB) should be under $140. I am working on getting quotes for the PCBs this week. Figuring out final pricing in the next few weeks.

An FR4 case (plate and bottom with standoffs) will also be offered. These pieces are the same size as their acrylic counterpart and therefore can be used with the acrylic case parts. I will also offer acrylic space/diffuser parts if people want to add those to their skeleton cases. There will also be the option to buy an extra top piece if you want a different color or if you want a blocker vs no blocker.

I am currently experimenting with a gummy o-ring gasket mount for the acrylic board. I still need to prototype it, but if it works I will also offer that configuration as well.

Offline Wonderfool

  • Posts: 17
Re: [IC] Krado66 - A "Destaggered" 65% Ortholinear Keyboard
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 17 May 2022, 15:48:19 »
I just wanted to give an update on the project. I am planning to run the GB in the next month or two.